Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Emotional Side of Estate Planning

Crafting one’s will commonly tends to be a dispassionate exercise in assigning someone’s name to an asset. Clients focus on the big items: the house, the mutual funds, the bank accounts. While obviously essential to crafting an estate plan, this limited scope is insufficient.

Have you thought about who should have your wedding band, family photo albums, your grandfather's hunting rifle? People often overlook the importance of family momentos, which can mean a lot to younger generations as well as cause disagreements after a loved one is gone. There is also the question of who should have certain responsibilities, such as the personal representative (a.k.a. executor) or guardian of your minor children. Is a family member the right choice? If so, which one? Again, who you select for these roles is important, and can ignite family tensions.

Delving into the emotional side of estate planning is not an easy task, which probably lies at the heart of why so many people avoid it. There is a wonderful book written for the general population that walks a person through the emotional aspects of doing a will.

I routinely recommend Creating the Good Will: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Both the Financial and Emotional Sides of Passing on Your Legacy to clients and seminar attendees.

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